In Albright’s debut picture book, a mother explains the concept of heaven to her young daughter after their beloved dog dies.
Light-skinned Lanie and her small, black-and-white dog, Sassie, have always been good friends, playing together and sharing snacks. One day, Lanie’s light-skinned mom tells her that Sassie has died and gone to Heaven. She describes the wonderful things that Sassie will find there, such as dog treats growing on trees. She also explains how dogs befriend people who arrive in Heaven and help them navigate it. Now, Lanie’s mom says, Sassie is “helping other people who need to feel the joy and enthusiastic welcome that only a dog can provide.” That night, Lanie dreams of playing with Sassie, saying goodbye to the dog, and watching her head toward her new “job.” Albright has the mother express some truly poignant sentiments, such as “It is important…that we hold onto all those happy thoughts to help us remember her.” Other statements are somewhat puzzling, though, such as that Sassie “is SO special and loves us SO much that she ages faster than we do.” However, the book’s overall message may provide comfort to kids dealing with a pet’s death. Debut illustrator Hombs’ bright images feature engaging details, including textured trees and clouds. Youngsters will enjoy the depictions of various dogs.
A well-meaning story with universal appeal.